Escanaba wants state of emergency

ESCANABA – Due to this winter’s extreme cold weather causing widespread frozen pipes in Escanaba, the city will be requesting Delta County to declare a “State of Emergency” so state funds can help pay for the unanticipated costs.

The issue is on the Escanaba City Council agenda for its regular meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at city hall.

In addition to the Delta County Commission, a draft resolution contained in council’s packet is also addressed to Gov. Rick Snyder, Sen. Tom Casperson, Rep. Ed McBroom, and Delta County Emergency Manager Coordinator Bob Berbohm.

In a memorandum to city council, City Manager Jim O’Toole presents an update on the impact of the extreme cold weather based on information from Public Works and the Water and Waste Water departments.

So far this winter, city crews have responded to more than 400 water line freeze ups at homes and business, two water main breaks, two sewer line freeze ups, and one storm line freeze up, noted O’Toole. Frost levels exceed 70 inches, he added.

“This in turn has impacted jurisdictional financial resources in an amount well over $93,000 as of Feb. 23,” O’Toole informed council.

He added this winter’s freeze is “far worse” than the freeze the city experienced in 1994.

“The number of ‘let runs’ is growing on a daily basis,” stated O’Toole. “The situation has become and will continue to be a major operational hardship for city personnel and a major stress for the city of Escanaba operations, residents and businesses.”

According to the draft resolution, by the county declaring a state of emergency with the State Emergency Management Division, Escanaba could petition the governor’s office for a declaration of emergency which would make hardship funding available to help pay for the city’s winter emergencies.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net